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Ibrahim Nabulsi: The 18-year-old Palestinian fighter who survived multiple assassination attempts

Jerusalem24 – Conflicting news reports kept Palestinians on their toes for more than an hour on Tuesday morning, as everyone was waiting to know whether Ibrahim Nabulsi was alive or dead.

Having survived at least two known assassination attempts by Israeli forces – the latest on 24 July – many felt that, once again, Nabulsi would survive.

Ibrahim Alaa Izaat Nabulsi was born in Nablus on 13 October 2003.

18-year-old Nabulsi was assassinated along with another fighter, Islam Sbbouh, on Tuesday morning after Israeli forces invaded the city of Nablus, and besieged a house they were in in the Old City of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank.

The spokesman for the Israeli army announced even as they withdrew from Nablus that an Israeli special force had managed to assassinate Nabulsi, a member in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (the military wing of the Fatah movement), one of the Israeli army’s most-wanted men in the northern West Bank city.

Israeli media shared the claims, before retracting them when reports emerged in Palestinian media that Nabulsi was alive and injured. Footage distributed on social media showed Nabulsi being revived by medical staff in Rafidia hospital in Nablus, with a large crowd gathered around.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health officially announced the death of Nabulsi, Sbbouh, as well as 16-year-old Hussein Jamal Taha, at 10:48 AM.

Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot said that special forces had been chasing Nabulsi for about a year.

A little over six weeks ago, Sunday 24 July at dawn, Israeli forces and special forces (Yamam) infiltrated the old city of Nablus, hidden in civilian merchandise trucks, while large numbers of reinforcements stormed the city from several entry points. The forces surrounded a house in the Al-Yasmina neighborhood where Nabulsi and a group of fighters were located.

Nabulsi managed to get out alive after heavy fighting, while two other fighters, 25-year-old Mohammad Azizi and 28-year-old Abdul Rahman Jamal Suleiman Sobbh, were struck by live ammunition in the chest and head. Both were killed on the spot.

The first known attempt to apprehend Nabulsi is believed to have happened in February, during a deadly ambush in the Makhfiya neighborhood. He was initially thought to be among the three people killed that day, before he emerged alive at their funeral. Videos of Nabulsi alive and well and attending the funeral procession were widely shared on Palestinian social media.

Similarly, his whereabouts after the 24 July Al-Yasmina raid were only revealed when he showed up at Sobbh and Azizi’s funerals, further boosting his reputation in the city as an elusive fighter.

Nabulsi’s appearance at that funeral alarmed the Israeli media, and the official Israeli channel “Kan” said at the time: “After escaping from the army forces, the Palestinian wanted man for whom the military operation in Nablus was dedicated this morning, arrived to attend the funeral of the Palestinians who were killed during the clashes.”

Thousands of Palestinians accompanied Nabulsi’s own funeral procession today, and protests and confrontations, as well as a generalized strike, have erupted in villages and cities across the West Bank.

Israeli authorities accuse Nabulsi of being behind “dozens” of shooting attacks on their soldiers, which led to the injury of one Israeli officer and several settlers.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Nabulsi was a “leader” in Al-Aqa Martyrs Brigades. He was in fact an “active member”. 

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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